Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sepp Blatter has been re-elected by FIFA in an almost Stalinist show of unity. He received 186 of a possible 203 votes.

The other candidate ”           ” received an impressive 17 votes.


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You can take the test here.

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This picture amused me. I thought I would share it with you.

 Palin Fiction

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“The principle of parliamentary sovereignty means neither more nor less than this: namely, that Parliament … has … the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having the right to set aside the legislation of Parliament.” (Dicey (1885))

The Diceyan view of Parliamentary Sovereignty, as set out above, is the corner stone of our constitution. Dicey identifies two distinct elements of sovereignty – that Parliament may make any law, and that no institution can set aside the law made in Parliament. This concept originates in the 1689 Bill of Rights. This statement remains partially true today, despite the perceived threat which the European Union has bought upon this view of sovereignty. Indeed, it has been challenged by the senior Judiciary, where in Jackson v. AG Lord Steyn suggested that PS was a “common law” principle.

The first element that Dicey identifies, that Parliament may make or unmake any law, remains in a reasonably unaltered form. Parliament continues to have the legal power to make any law which it chooses. A popular example of this is that Parliament may legislate to ban smoking on the streets of Paris. However, this theoretical ability has changed into a partial truth, and has become qualified by political and economic circumstance. This is mostly down to the European Union. The European Communities Act (1972) provides that all EU Law is automatically incorporated into UK Law, and section 2 (4) of the Act attempts to bind future Parliaments. This challenges the view that Parliament may make any law that it chooses. An example of this resides in the case of Thoburn v. Sunderland City Council. In that case, it was ruled that the ECA 1972 is not available for implied repeal, and Laws LJ described it is a “constitutional” statute. This challenges Dicey’s principle above, that each Parliament is entitled to pass any law which it chooses, and, by extension, imply the repeal of an earlier act.  Indeed, the ECJ ruled in Costa that EU law should take precedence of the law of the member states. This suggests that Parliament has lost its ability to imply the repeal of a piece of legislation. However, this can be challenged in the case of McCarthys v Wendy Smith.  Lord Denning ruled that if Parliament wanted UK Law to be supreme over EU law in a specific area it must be clear in doing so. This was supported in Jackson v. AG where the idea of Parliamentary Sovereignty was reinforced. Despite this, areas where Parliament has made its intention quite clear, where another institution, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the UK must comply with its decision that the blanket ban on prisoners voting should be lifted.  This is despite Parliament holding a debate, and voting overwhelmingly in favour of maintaining such a blanket ban.

Dicey’s second suggestion that no institution can set aside a law passed by Parliament appears to no longer be as powerful as it once was. The case of Factortame, in relation of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988, which imposed restrictions on who could operate a fishing vessel from a British port, was in contravention of European Law which required all EU citizens to be treated equally in all member states. The British Courts ruled that the Merchant

Shipping Act should stand. However, the ECJ ruled that the precedent from Costa, that EU law should be the dominant precedent, should apply. The House of Lords then took the decision to dis-apply the Merchant Shipping Act. By doing this, the House of Lords went against the intent of Parliament, and applied the European Communities Act 1972 over and above the Merchant Shipping Act. This was followed by R v SS for Employment in 1995, where another UK statue was dis-applied where it was inconsistent with EU Law. Indeed, the ECJ ruled in Marleasing that National Courts must interpret law so as to be consistent with EU law. In Frankovich, the ECJ ruled that EU Law will provide a remedy for citizens where EU Law has not been implemented by the member state. This suggests that EU law, and the European Communities Act will apply, and override, statutes passed by Parliament. Indeed, as a result of rulings in the ECJ statutes are now available for judicial review to test their compatibility with EU Law. This provides adequate evidence to suggest the PS that Dicey describes does not hold true today.

However, the UK could still pull out of the EU, if it wished, and therefore remove itself from the jurisdiction of the ECJ; this could be done by repealing the European Communities Act, which could theoretically be done. This demonstrates that the sovereignty of Parliament is maintained, and Parliament is able to do as Dicey says, and pass any law that it wishes. This remains the legal theory. However, given the economic and political consequences of leaving the European Union, withdrawal appears to be highly unlikely.

In conclusion, it would appear that Parliamentary Sovereignty remains a theoretical reality. Parliament could pass legislation to remove the United Kingdom from the European Union.  However, the Diceyan view of sovereignty would seem to have been eroded by the rulings of the European Court of Justice, leading to Acts of Parliament being dis-applied by the British Courts in favour of European legislation and rulings. In light of this, the Coalition Government has introduced a Sovereignty Bill in Parliament, which will enshrine Parliamentary Sovereignty in law. Dicey’s statement remains today as a theoretical truth, but in practice, the Sovereignty of the British Parliament has been weakened by the European Union.

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And they aren’t good.

Public borrowing for the month of April is up to £10bn, from £7.3bn a year ago. Most analysts expected the figure to be around £6.5bn

Hetal Mehta, at Daiwa Capital Markets said The public finances have got off to a pretty bad start this year”

Well done, George, well done.

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After the events of today, it would seem not.

John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley stood up in the House of Commons and announced who the Premiership footballer “CTB”, who had an affair with Big Brother star Imogen Thomas is. This was done whilst protected by the right of Parliamentary Privilege, and the right to be free from litigation from comments made in the House of Commons that are recorded in Hansard. This right is an aincent right, extending back to Article 9 the Bill of Rights (1689), which gives the following right:

“freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament”

The Parliamentary Papers Act (1840) provides that:

“It shall and may be lawful for any person or persons who now is or are, or hereafter shall be, a defendant or defendants in any civil or criminal proceeding commenced or prosecuted in any matter soever, for or on account or in respect of the publication of any such report, paper, votes, or proceedings by such person or persons, or by his, her, or their servant or servants, by or under the authority of either House of Parliament”

This, in turn, provides protection for those who report on the proceedings of Parliament. That allows the BBC and Sky  to report on what Mr Hemming said in the House of Commons.

It would seem that the footballers right to privacy, which is a qualified right under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights:

“Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

In my opinion, this provides the right for the footballer “CTB” to have privacy. The only qualification which may apply here, the protection of other peoples rights, and their freedom of speech is set out in Article 10 of the ECHR:

Article 10 – Freedom of expression

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”

For me, revealing the private life of a footballer, who is of little significance to public life and  does not trade on their “family” image is a clear breach of their right to privacy.

John Hemming made the announcement in the House of Commons, where there is not right of appeal, or right to be heard in your own defense against claims such as this. By announcing it in public, and allowing it to be reported in the national press, he has exposed the claims to a much wider audience. The BBC suggest that 75,000 people have named the footballer name on Twitter. Compare that to the number who will now be exposed to this information – 58 million people live in England and Wales. This takes the story to a whole new level of media hype.

The High Court has again rejected an application to have the injunction lifted. Mr Justice Eady said that:

“[The Court’s duty] remains to try and protect the claimant, and particularly his family, from intrusion and harassment so long as it can”

In the absence of Parliaments intent being shown in an Act which enumerates a right to privacy in circumstances such as these, it is absolutely right that the High Court should seek to protect the footballer “CTB”.

Mr Hemming’s attack on the rule of law, and the principle that all obey it, shows the depths that some politicians will go to get publicity.

“Normal” people have a right to privacy.

Why do those who the media wish to pursue not have that same right that we enjoy?

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This is what the Joint Commitee on Parliamentary Privilege says about the use of parliamentary privilege:

“Freedom of speech is guaranteed by article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1689: `freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament’. It is the single most important parliamentary privilege. Article 9 affords legal immunity (`ought not to be questioned’) to members for what they say or do in `proceedings in Parliament’. The immunity applies in `any court or place out of Parliament’.

This legal immunity is comprehensive and absolute. Article 9 should therefore be confined to activities justifying such a high degree of protection, and its boundaries should be clear.”

The whole report can be read here

John Hemming MP should be ashamed of himself. By flouting the intention of this previous right, he has bought himself, Parliament, and the law into disrepute.

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